schoolstudent

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Hi, I am an upcoming high school junior, currently interested health fields, especially pharmacy and optometry. I have researched both of these fields, but I am even more confused than ever. What exactly is the pharmacy field? Pros and cons, past experiences, availability of jobs after graduating, requirements to become a pharmacist, school (undergraduate and grad).... etc. As of now, I really just want to see if I can see myself becoming a pharmacist; I want to truly love what I am doing for the rest of my life.

I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me some help. Thanks in advance!
 

bacillus1

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Use search function. Lots of stuff out there on the forum.

But I'll answer briefly.
Pros: lots of choices on what you to do with degree. Ability to choose level of exposure to patients. Pay's not bad.
Cons: oversaturation of pharmacists in some cities, retail chains (where most pharmacists are employed) treat their pharmacists like crap.

Since you're a HS student, you may want to consider a 0-6 program. That way you could become a pharmacist in 6 years.
 

schoolstudent

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Thank you for your reply. Yes, I have looked into that pathway. I am currently taking as many AP classes as I can, in order to hopefully reduce my time in undergraduate college to 3 years. To become a pharmacist, is it 4 years of pharmacy school? Also, are there any classes I should take in high school to prepare myself?

In response to your cons list, due to the oversaturation of pharmacists, are jobs difficult to find nowadays?
 
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If you you do 0-6 program(straight out of high school) it will be 6 years. If you choose to finish a bachelors first it will be 3 or 4 years depending on the program.
 

schoolstudent

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So approximately 6-7 years to become a pharmacist, correct? Is there a residency or anything following those years?

Also, could you give me an overall idea of the pharmacy field?
 

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Hi, I am an upcoming high school junior, currently interested health fields, especially pharmacy and optometry. I have researched both of these fields, but I am even more confused than ever. What exactly is the pharmacy field? Pros and cons, past experiences, availability of jobs after graduating, requirements to become a pharmacist, school (undergraduate and grad).... etc. As of now, I really just want to see if I can see myself becoming a pharmacist; I want to truly love what I am doing for the rest of my life.

I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me some help. Thanks in advance!


Pro of being a pharmacist:

1. If you like working in retails and don't mind answering non-pharmacy related questions (i.e. where the ajax are), then being a pharmacist might be to your liking.

2. Job prospect and salary are good as well, and it may be worth the 150k+ tuition you pay in pharmacy school. Of course, don't expect corporate to hand you a job after you graduate. Networking is your friend, and so is your employer. If you want to work at a pharmacy, then go get your tech certification. You need to be 18 to work at one though. If you stay with your employer long enough, then they may offer you a position once you graduate.

3. You don't have to go into retail. You can go into specialties, but they require residency, which can take up two years post grads.

Con:

1. You will have to put up with a lot of pre-pharmers in college who wants to go into this profession because this job is easy. But most never make it.

2. Your GPA can hurt you if you have less than a 3.0 GPA. Depending on which school you want to go, your GPA will serve as your stepping stone. PCAT as well

3. Lack of motivation is your worst enemy.
 

schoolstudent

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Thanks so much for that; it really helped!

Could you clarify specialities for me? Examples of specialities?

As for the cons list, I think I can manage. Right now, as a high school student, I am taking the highest courses available for me, honors and AP. At the same time, I am managing a 4.0 GPA, and that is without the extra weighing of honors and AP. I also participate in extra-curricular activities, in and out of school, volunteering at my local hospital.

If it isn't much trouble, could you give me a brief outline of what it takes to become a pharmacist?
 

redheadedninja

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Thanks so much for that; it really helped!

Could you clarify specialities for me? Examples of specialities?

As for the cons list, I think I can manage. Right now, as a high school student, I am taking the highest courses available for me, honors and AP. At the same time, I am managing a 4.0 GPA, and that is without the extra weighing of honors and AP. I also participate in extra-curricular activities, in and out of school, volunteering at my local hospital.

If it isn't much trouble, could you give me a brief outline of what it takes to become a pharmacist?
1. A work ethic, which it seems you already have.
2. Resilience. You will have bad tests/classes/ etc. You need to be able to bounce back and focus on what needs to be done next.
3. Personality. So much of being a pharmacist is being the middleman between Doctors, patients and insurance companies. Be friendly, personable, and empathetic.
4. Motivation and determination to succeed, whatever it takes.

As for the course load, I know at my college (ACPHS), my undergrad years I took Gen. Chem, Gen. Bio, Statistics, Calculus, Physics, Microbiology, English/Humanities, Organic Chemistry, Labs for each science class listed and any electives I found interesting.

I also suggest getting a job in a pharmacy, mainly retail as this will expose you to the majority of issues a pharmacist faces, to gain experience and an understanding of which aspects you enjoy and which you don't.
 
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Thanks so much for that; it really helped!

Could you clarify specialities for me? Examples of specialities?
There are currently 6 specialties recognized/administered by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties (BPS). Each has a unique set of requirements you have to meet, normally including a certain amount of experience or a residency and successful passing of a board exam.

The 6 are:

Ambulatory Care (BCACP)
Nuclear (BCNP)
Nutritional Support (BCNSP)
Oncology (BCOP)
Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)
Psychiatric Pharmacy (BCPP)

There are two more currently being investigated for official certification: Pediatrics and (I think?) Infectious Diseases.

For more information on those, check out http://www.bpsweb.org

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) also offers its own certification in geriatric pharmacy.

As for the cons list, I think I can manage. Right now, as a high school student, I am taking the highest courses available for me, honors and AP. At the same time, I am managing a 4.0 GPA, and that is without the extra weighing of honors and AP. I also participate in extra-curricular activities, in and out of school, volunteering at my local hospital.
Don't put the cart too far ahead of the horse. ;)

If it isn't much trouble, could you give me a brief outline of what it takes to become a pharmacist?

You either get into a 0-6 program, or you complete ~2-3 years of pre-reqs in undergrad (or complete a bachelors) and then apply to pharmacy school. You complete 3 or 4 years of pharmacy school (depending on the program), and then you are able to go right into the work force, or you can pursue a residency or fellowship in an area that interests you.

First year residencies are general in nature, while second year residencies are for specialization, such as in Psych or Ambulatory Care.

Hope that helps.
 

littlejung

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I was in the same position as you last year. I graduated with my AA last weekend and will graduate from high school next weekend; my school district allows HS students to attend a college full-time.

My advice:

1) Read this forum. Don't get bogged down on what people have to say.

2) Get used to the environment by:
A. Working in a pharmacy
B. Volunteering at a hospital! The hospital that I volunteered at does not allow volunteers in the pharmacy areas, but I was able to talk to the pharmacists and get their opinion of the field.

3) Figure out what will be the best route. I will be finishing my BS on a scholarship in the fall. I could have entered pharmacy school right away since I have completed the pre-reqs. Even though I am mature for my age, I feel like the college experience will help me grow. I want to be able to be a competitive applicant. More school, more time to work, volunteer, and complete projects = more competitive It does not promise anything though.

Also, IF for some reason I decide I don't want to pursue pharmacy, I will be able to use my degree. I'm the type that has a back-up for the back-up.

4) Understand that HS GPA is great for 0-6 year pharmacy programs and for undergrad programs. Understand that traditional 3/4 year pharmacy programs don't care. I regret not having as much as I should have during my high school years. Most of my friends are older which makes it harder to hang out, but I wish I would have enjoyed myself more.
(Another reason for getting my BS! Hello, college fun!)
 
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